Despite a persistent rumor making the rounds in Summerville and the rest of North Georgia, Floyd County police said there was no reason to avoid Wal-Mart last Thursday night.
A text message was sent out last week to area cell phones alleging to be a police warning supposedly warning about a gang initiation involving a murder that was planned at the East Rome Walmart on Cartersville Highway and other Wal-Marts in the area.
Others say the message is that someone is going to be kidnapped from Walmart and killed elsewhere. Either way, Floyd County police say to their knowledge that no gang had anything dangerous planned at Walmart.
“I can tell you right now that’s the first I’ve heard of it,” said Deputy Chief Lonzo Roberson, who currently serves as the Rome Police Department’s public information officer. He was interviewed last week when the text messages started alarming people.
Captain Terry Autry, of the department’s investigation division, said he has no idea how the rumor got started.
“We have heard that rumor also, but we haven’t heard from anyone who has gotten the actual message,” said Autry.
He said every call they received has been from someone who has heard about someone else getting a text message warning about the supposed gang initiation. Autry said he didn’t know if the message was even real, or who might be sending it if it is.
“No one has actually told us they received the message,” he said.
Similar reports have also been reported all around the Southeast during the past few years, and it seems this time the rumor started in the Atlanta area. Below is an official statement from the Griffin Police Department released Thursday:
“The report that a murderous gang initiation is planned at Walmart is a long-running hoax that has resurfaced. It is an urban legend that has been circulating for several years. Please disregard and do not forward it to anyone else. The rumor has been investigated and found that it is an unsubstantiated urban legend that first surfaced in 2005 in the Memphis, Tenn., area and has popped up in other areas in the past few years.”
Anyone who receives the message is encourage to disregard it and to tell others to do the same.